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Dakar set for final-stage showdown

Nasser Al-Attiyah, Volkswagen, 2010 DakarThe 2010 Dakar rally is set for a final-stage showdown for victory after Nasser Al-Attiyah reduced the gap to overall leader Carlos Sainz on the penultimate special of the event.

Although Sainz had marginally increased the gap to his Volkswagen team-mate on Thursday, the Qatari gained two and a half minutes on the Spaniard on today's stage, which was won by X-Raid's Stephane Peterhansel.

Nine-time Dakar winner Peterhansel scored his fourth victory of 2010, extending his record of stage victories to 55 as he looks set to finish this year's event in fourth place.

The Frenchman beat Al-Attiyah by one minute and 21 seconds, with Sainz 3m53s behind the stage winner and BMW's Guerlain Chicherit, fourth today.

The former world rally champion will go into the final special on Saturday with a lead of just two minutes and 48 seconds.

The 14th and final special will cover 206 timed kilometres from San Rafael to Argentina's capital Buenos Aires.

American Mark Miller finished in fifth position today to all but secure third position on the podium. The Volkswagen driver is over 31 minutes behind Sainz but nearly two hours ahead of Peterhansel.

Last year's winner Giniel de Villiers completed today's 368-km special from San Rafael to Santa Rosa in sixth.

Stage 13:

Pos  Driver                Car         Time/Gap
 1.  Stephane Peterhansel  BMW         2h58m25s
 2.  Nasser Al-Attiyah     VW           + 1m21s
 3.  Guerlain Chicherit    BMW          + 3m45s
 4.  Carlos Sainz          VW           + 3m53s
 5.  Mark Miller           VW           + 7m29s
 6.  Giniel de Villiers    VW           + 8m13s
 7.  Orlando Terranova     Mitsubishi  + 11m16s
 8.  Robby Gordon          Hummer      + 12m21s
 9.  Robert Baldwin        Hummer      + 13m37s
10.  Carlos Sousa          Mitsubishi  + 17m00s


Pos  Driver                Car           Time/Gap
 1.  Carlos Sainz          VW           45h49m42s
 2.  Nasser Al-Attiyah     VW             + 2m48s
 3.  Mark Miller           VW            + 31m48s
 4.  Stephane Peterhansel  BMW         + 2h16m49s
 5.  Guerlain Chicherit    BMW         + 4h02m42s
 6.  Carlos Sousa          Mitsubishi  + 4h26m32s
 7.  Giniel de Villiers    VW          + 5h09m14s
 8.  Robby Gordon          Hummer      + 6h01m02s
 9.  Orlando Terranova     Mitsubishi  + 6h02m55s
10.  Guilherme Spinelli    Mitsubishi  + 6h09m09s
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